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Midfielders Mesut Ozil (left) and Matteo Guendouzi are currently on the sidelines at Arsenal

English Premiership

Arteta offers hope of Arsenal return for Ozil and Guendouzi

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 20Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has hinted both Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi could have a future at the club — pointing to Granit Xhaka’s own remarkable turnaround as an example.

Guendouzi has not featured since his bust-up with Brighton’s Neal Maupay last month and Ozil has yet to kick a ball since the season resumed but Arteta spoke of another player who has overcome difficult times in recent months.

Former boss Unai Emery stripped Xhaka of the captaincy after he swore at Arsenal fans while being substituted during a draw with Crystal Palace in October.

Xhaka’s relationship with supporters has been mixed since his arrival in 2016 but, under Arteta, his performances have improved and he has become an important player.

“The challenge with Granit was to convince him that there was still a place for him here, that I had big belief in him and that things can turn around pretty quickly in this industry,” Arteta told reporters on Monday.

“He had to send the right messages — first of all he had to believe that he could do it and if that was the case we were going to support him all the way through. I am really glad to hear and sense as well the reaction from the fans towards him.”

“If you are willing and if you are consistent and you really want to do it there is always a way back,” he added.

Pushed on whether Ozil and Guendouzi could return if they show both the willing and consistency Arteta called for, the 38-year-old said: “That applies for any player and any member of the staff. All players know this.”

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Arteta’s side take on Aston Villa on Tuesday after their FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice to secure a record 21st FA Cup final appearance for Arsenal, who had beaten Premier League champions Liverpool just three days earlier.

The forward’s future at the Emirates Stadium is unclear, with his contract expiring next year.

Arteta said he wanted to see a solution quickly.

“There is another one (uncertainty) obviously of where we are going to finish and whether we’re going to be playing in Europe or not, which is going to have an impact,” he said.

“With Auba, I think I’ve been very clear with what I want,” he added. “The quicker we do it, for me personally, the better because the player will be more focused, more determined and more calm.”

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